By now it’s pretty clear that a social media strategy for your business is essential if you want to stand out in your industry, let alone stay ahead of your competitors. And although most organizations have social channels, many are unsure about how to create and execute a successful social media strategy. As a social media marketer, I have quickly learned that simply creating a profile and occasionally sharing a piece of content will not get you the results you want.
Social media can be overwhelming. This blog, which is part one in a series, starts with the top reasons why most businesses get social media marketing wrong and how to start improving today.
1. You Don’t Know Your Audience
While this may seem cliché, and you will see this (hopefully) in every social media marketing article you ever read, I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Knowing who your customers and prospects are is the most critical part of any marketing strategy. You can have excellent content that you worked on for days, weeks and even months, but it won’t matter if you’re not reaching the right people and you don’t know which types of content resonate with your audience.
How Do I Find My Audience?
Build buyer personas for ALL your potential customers. Find out where they are, what they do and what they like, in as much detail as possible. One way to do this is through social listening tools. There are several free ones available, such as Mention, Social Mention and Topsy. You can also use social media dashboards like Hootsuite and Sprinklr. If you want to go more old school, you can do something like Google Alerts, or simply use the “search” tools built into the social platforms to see what your prospects are talking about. You can also work with agencies who will conduct research to build your personas.
2. You Only Have a “Push Marketing” Approach
By definition, push marketing is when a business attempts to get their message in front of their potential customers without them having a desire or interest to buy the product or learn more. In other words, you are being promotional, not educational. Since social media is typically a top-of-funnel medium, you want to make sure your content is fun, helpful and promotes a benefit, not a product or service. You want to build trust and credibility while positioning yourself as an industry thought leader and influencer. This can be done by sharing curated content and industry news that doesn’t necessarily lead back to your website. So constantly be thinking outside of the box and find creative, helpful ways to engage and entertain your audience.
3. You Don’t Interact and Engage with People
This is something I learned the hard way. Initially, I believed that as long as I had a constant flow of content, my channels were “active” and I would get plenty of engagement. However, I quickly discovered that people want to interact with people, not brands. This is why the content and promotions that perform best are the ones that are interactive, live and/or ask for feedback. This can be more difficult if you’re not a B2C business, but you can still engage and interact by doing things such as thanking your followers for their engagement, offering insight and opinions on your posts as well as asking others for their thoughts and feedback. Anyone can be a “bot” who just pushes out content. Step it up, be part of the conversation and take your social channels to the next level.
4. You’re Looking for Short-term Results
Let me tell you a quick story. A couple of years ago, I started as a marketing intern who knew very little about real-world marketing. Once I started getting into the role I began subscribing to various marketing companies that would constantly send me tips, tricks and best practices on content marketing and social media. One that stood out was a company called Marketing Profs. Their content was so educational and engaging that I immediately started following all their social channels and interacting with their brand on a regular basis. It took a year, but eventually I signed up to be a Marketing Profs PRO member, after minimal push from their end. It took more than a year for me to upgrade to a paid subscription for their exclusive content, and yet I’m still in the early stages of my customer journey. Do you get where I’m going with this? I grew to trust—and depend on—their expertise because I was nurtured via various marketing channels long before I became a paid subscriber.
5. You Don’t See How Social Media Ties in with Digital Transformation
Facebook is the new Google. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone but if it does, you’re welcome. How many times have you seen someone mention a brand on social media? Whether it be a complaint, compliment or general comment, we’ve all come across it at some point. Now, how often have you seen the brand actually respond to the post? Probably not as often. Your customers are everywhere, including social media. It is your responsibility to be wherever they are in order to quickly respond to all their questions and concerns. Delighting your customers with a consistent omni-channel experience regardless of device is key for digital transformation success.
Social media is only one portion of your marketing strategy, but not realizing its potential to grow your business and the opportunity it offers for a better customer experience could be your downfall. Of course, using the right CMS can help make this process easier. Take a deeper dive into common mistakes you could be making in part 2 of this series, 4 Ways You’re Killing Your Social Media Strategy.
Take your social media skills to the next level—your competitors are already doing it.